Getting to Be a Bad Boy for a Long Time

Whether it’s MIT’s beloved Gabriel Bitran or the University of Kentucky’s much-cherished Dongping “Daniel” Tao, bad boys and certain universities go together like a horse and carriage. Who knows why, with ooooodles of information about these professors’ wrongdoings, these universities just kept on keeping them on? Starting three years ago, Tao’s habit of, uh, enslaving his graduate students was duly noted by higher-ups at UK, but too much bourbon and too much football seems seems to have distracted them… Because they dint do nuthin.

Emboldened, Tao blew off the whole “university professor” thing and used UK as cover for his private consulting business (in which UK grad students were his slaves – this is a variant on the Cecilia Chang story). A kind of cherry-on-top is that he double billed both clients and UK for all kinds of fun travel and restaurants.

It’s very hard to uncover fraud when you’re … well, how to put this kindly…

A Dearth of Replications

Th’ expense of paper in a wasteful game
Is just inaction; and, till repeated, work
Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, full of murk;
Printed no sooner but distrusted straight,
Past reason shunted; and, no sooner read
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to keep researchers fed;
Vast in results; but replication? No,
Fed, feeding, and in quest to feed, extreme;
A bliss in proof; unproved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a scheme.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun submissions that lead men to this hell.

A mildly acidic environment.

Sometimes retraction watch becomes suicide watch: The toxic combination of a sense of disgrace, and a culture in which suicide is seen by some as a form of atonement, has brought a distinguished Japanese scientist to self-destruction.

Yoshiki Sasai killed himself at his laboratory, where he oversaw – and appeared as co-author on – the now-notorious, apparently totally bogus stem cell work (“the researchers reported that they successfully transformed ordinary mouse cells into versatile stem cells by exposing them to a mildly acidic environment”) of Haruko Obokata. Accused of bearing significant responsibility for Obokata’s misconduct, which brought negative international attention to Japanese science, Sasai apparently fell into a depression.

Will they go after the $25,000?

When your taxpayer-supported school gives a large money award to a fraud on the faculty, a fraud who resigns in disgrace, you’re supposed to try to get the money back. Bentley University’s fraudmeister, James Hunton, left back in 2012 when one of his articles was retracted. Before then, the school thought he was so hot they gave him the Mee Award with its tidy cash sum attached…

then, Bentley has investigated the stolidly uncooperative Hunton’s entire scholarly output. They’ve been able to confirm one other fraudulent paper, but the whole thing ain’t been easy.

Hunton failed to cooperate with the university’s inquiry. Despite being told to retain any relevant documents, Bentley found that Hunton had cleaned out all his physical files before leaving, and that his laptop had been wiped clean.

Other electronic records reviewed by the university found that certain documents related to Hunton’s research had been altered after allegations were first made against him in the fall of 2012.

In particular, Hunton had said that confidentiality agreements with the firms used in his data-gathering prevented him from sharing original data with his coauthors and editors. The university’s investigation found that the agreements included “unusual redactions, contradictory dates, and — most damaging of all — evidence that the documents had been revised” after allegations were raised.

It’s fun to think of Jimbo sittin’ around rewriting his confidentiality agreements…

The hereinafter named party of the first part will hereby be absolutely enjoined in perpetuity never to show any person or institution any item party ever wrote either by pen keyboard or other graphical instrument under penalty of death…

“As revenues are flowing in, it’s just plowed back into the athletics.”

What? What? Knock me over with a feather! You’re telling me that money doesn’t go to academics??????


Attorneys for the plaintiffs also questioned Petr on why revenue numbers the NCAA provided Congress with show 78 percent of D-IA schools reported revenue greater or equal to the their expenses. In this trial, the NCAA contends only 18 schools showed a profit in 2012.


Columbia, the Land of Oz

“Oz, with his credible position as a professor at Columbia University…” writes about Columbia University’s Mehmet Oz, a shameless huckster.

Columbia gives him credibility. What does he give Columbia?

‘I Was a Teenage She-Wolf’ found to be a hoax!

With its way-believable plot (six year old girl escapes Holocaust; is raised by wolves; shoots and kills a Nazi along the way), who could have guessed Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years would turn out to be made up? I mean okay – if she’d said she was three years old, raised by aliens, and blew up a Nazi arsenal, maybe we would have become suspicious…


I know one is supposed to be anguished and perplexed; but when you’re a veteran hoax-lover like UD, there’s such a merry, almost over-full, feast in the Samuragochi saga. Pardon me for laughing.


Okay, some good article titles are beginning to appear… Ode To Fraud is good… I have one (she said, blushing becomingly):

Die Fraud Mit Schatten

Ja, ja, it’s extremely convoluted, and you have to be extremely cultured to get it…

Okay, here.


An earlier musical hoax.

‘The commission imposed a $46.5 million judgment on the company, which sold $364 million of Sensa in the United States from 2008 to 2012. But the company will remit little more than half the settlement amount “due to their inability to pay,” officials said.’

Rush University medical center has on its faculty Alan Hirsch, creator of a magic powder of interest to the Federal Trade Commission.

Madoff, Merkin, Wilf, Rennert…

… To the rogue’s gallery that runs and has run Yeshiva University, we must add Julius Berman, who continues to hold a place of honor on one of that farcically scandal-ridden university’s boards of trustees. Berman’s chair emeritus of the all-boys board of Yeshiva’s seminary. And like several of his amazing Yeshiva compatriots, he sure does know how to get into trouble.

From an opinion piece in the New York Times.

[Susan Fuhrman, head of Teachers College Columbia University,] finds the birth of alternative teacher schools “upsetting.” “I worry about cutting that kind of preparation off from the scholarship and from emerging research” that a university offers, she said. “It can sound like I feel threatened. I don’t. But it just worries me as a trend.”

There are 3.3 million public school teachers in America, and they probably can’t all be trained by start-ups. Raising up the standards of our university programs should be an urgent priority. But one reason for the widespread mediocrity is that universities have had a cozy, lucrative monopoly. It’s about time the leaders of our education schools did feel threatened.

This blog has for years followed the scandal of America’s schools of education. Their notorious mediocrity continues to generate alternative forms of preparation for the profession.

[U]niversities have proved largely immutable. Educators, including some inside these institutions, say universities have treated education programs as “cash cows.” The schools see no incentive to change because they have plenty of applicants willing to pay full tuition, the programs are relatively cheap to run, and they are accountable to no one except accrediting agencies run by, you guessed it, education schools. It’s a contented cartel.

What do you have to do to be removed from the faculty of…

Upstate Medical University?

They’ve even placed him in an “undisclosed off-campus” location!

Another Oggsford Man Bites the Dust.

As in that scene in The Great Gatsby when Wolfsheim explains to Nick –

“He’s an Oggsford man.”


“He went to Oggsford College in England. You know Oggsford College?”

“I’ve heard of it.”

“It’s one of the most famous colleges in the world.”

– so today another Oggsford man is unmasked as a pretender.

[T]op barrister Dennis O’Riordan … was this week suspended for having claimed to have two first-class degrees and a doctorate from Oxford and a master’s from Harvard

Unlike Gatsby, O’Riordan really piled it on – two from Oxford, and a Harvard cherry on top. I guess he’s taking into account inflation since 1925…


UD thanks Jon.

Mr Stiffmeister penetrates Metalurgia International.

He is Reference 19 in “Evaluation of Transformative Hermeneutic Heuristics etc. etc.” – an astonishing contribution to the field.


UD thanks Eric.

“It’s amazing how much money CMU students have to pay in tuition and fees to cover the huge deficits in our athletic department.”

Readers who have followed my coverage of hapless Central Michigan University will be unsurprised by this headline in the school’s newspaper:


(My headline is from the article’s comment thread.)

It’s not just those huge athletic deficits – the product of years of all-American asininity about the glories of football… oh, here’s another post about the glories of CMU football… It’s also about a truly pathetic board of trustees… a pass-the-buck president… And a general no-one’s-home aspect to the place. Of course students are beginning to notice.

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